Search for Nightlife: Oh, to Be Camp (an ode to B. Kamp) | Calendar | Chicago Reader

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Search for Nightlife: Oh, to Be Camp (an ode to B. Kamp)

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Cairo, 720 N. Wells: "Oh, B. Kamp, you look more glamorous tonight than evermore," Plain Patty said, hopping up and down. "Let me be near you as you and your ecstatic boyfriends Keith Ann and Aqua Netta search for the night at Cairo's weekly Steamy Sunday. It gets so exciting when Byron Dorsey, the club's gay events promoter, who looks Egyptian when he wears his golden hoop earrings, conducts Midnight Madness and throws lollipops and condoms into the air."

"Perhaps, Plain Patty," B. Kamp said, tossing his small golden head.

"I know my stomach is sticking out and I am heavy-footed with the flu while you are silver-light with the fleetness of a faun, but I would like to stand near you as you watch the hundreds of men dance around the Cairo Go Go Boys, who on this particular night are wearing bare-midriff black net tops and whose bodies look like they are made out of luncheon meat."

Plain Patty waited anxiously. B. Kamp nodded. "All right honey, but your hair needs an oil treatment."

"Let's not think about my hair tonight," Plain Patty said. "Let's think only about your hair and everything about you--you, the proprietor of the B. Kamp hair salon-slash-art gallery on Belmont Avenue near Tenenbaum Hardware--you, born Brian Kamp in Peoria, grandson of the owner of the city's first coin-operated laundromat, son of the general plant foreman at Caterpillar--you who have been fulfilling the destiny of your name every moment since, and who tonight are wearing a bauble pierced into your fine nostril and a shirt by the Dutch designer Dirk Birkenberg while you hold a Camel Ultra Light and a vodka and cranberry juice cocktail in your hands which have been elegant for 27 years, except maybe for a brief time in high school when you worked as a car mechanic. I'll never forget the first moment I saw you standing at the door of Berlin on Disco Wednesday and you were wearing your Orange Crush outfit with the poppy printed bell-bottoms, the brief halter top, that black wig that went down to your waist. All eyes were on you."

"That was nothing," B. Kamp said with a wave of the peppermint stick he was licking. "You should have seen me at Shelter in sheer underpanties over a bushy burst of fluorescent feathers all topped by my blouse that looked so Mary Tyler Moore."

"I know no one can compare with your style," Plain Patty said, "not this man in the brief black spandex minidress or that one over there in the sleeveless silver-sequined blouse and overalls, or even that one in the burgundy velvet tunic and black bikini underpants, not to mention the earnest-faced one in leather elbow pads who keeps insisting he's a prostitute but I don't believe him."

Just then a bone-chilling Ahhh-aggggh sound came from one of the catacombs in the club's basement. B. Kamp and Plain Patty turned to look.

Plain Patty screamed, "It's ASSCRACKER, the sex monster who comes out on Sunday nights and has only one orifice on his mind. I'm getting out of here."

"Stay and admire me. He's not after you, Plain Patty."

"Don't be so sure. He's not very smart and sometimes he gets his genders mixed up. Bye, B. Kamp. You're the most glamorous and visually emphatic of them all. You're my role model--oh help, he's behind me and he's confused! . . . "

"AAAAHHH-AGGGGH . . . "

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tom Bachtell.

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